Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality, and to see the links to virtual rooms.

Accepted Paper:

Becoming complicit in the UK ‘hostile environment’  
Joel White (Newcastle University)

Paper short abstract:

People navigating the ‘hostile environment’ in Glasgow encounter and articulate multiple forms of complicity. ‘Thinking like’ the Home Office can here mean risking complicity in one’s own harm, along with questioning the complicity of others: NGO workers, campaign groups, and academic researchers.

Paper long abstract:

Discourses of complicity are a central part of the UK asylum system, with the ‘hostile environment’ being one attempt to create an atmosphere in which a proliferation of people become ‘complicit’ in the ‘illegality’ of others - across education, healthcare, housing and public life. Concurrently, people navigating the asylum system regularly articulate and share their own critiques of complicity, levelled at NGOs, campaign groups, Home Office representatives, political figures and academic researchers. Based on 12 months’ fieldwork with people going through the asylum system in Glasgow, this paper will investigate these differing everyday questions of becoming complicit. What kinds of ethics emanate from an NGO training that advises caseworkers to ‘think like the Home Office’? How do group discussions of self-care and personal responsibility shift, often in the face of tragedy or failure, into ones of complicity? Such questions foreground the difficulty of limiting ideas of complicity to the harm of ‘the other’, with one woman stating, “you know the Home Office is in my head, when I fight them, I fight myself, I hurt myself.” To engage in the asylum system is here is to form personal strategies of complicity and compliance as a “deliberative ethical moment” (Mattingly, 2014), in ways that unsettle any clear contrast between “moral tragedy” and “flourishing”, complicating both anthropological and activist assumptions. And yet, such narratives of complicity may imply a solidity to the concept that, in a system which is often very difficult to discern, can be elusive: what are we complicit ‘with’?

Panel Mora02a
Complicities: politics and ethics at the edges of responsibility I
  Session 1 Friday 2 April, 2021, -